CNC Interest Group meet-up

June 16th, 2015 by otto_pjm

The CNC Interest Group meet-up will happen again this Sunday 6/21/2015 2:00 PM at the Hack Factory. It is open to everyone, but machine use requires membership. If you have been wanting to get a project cut on a CNC or get checked out on the CNC machines, this is where you want to be to get the process started. Hope to see a good group of folks Sunday.




CNC Interest Group meet-up

June 5th, 2015 by otto_pjm

We will be having the first, of what I hope will be many, CNC Interest Group meet-ups this Sunday 6/7/2015 2:00 PM at the Hack Factory. It is open to everyone, but machine use requires membership. The agenda is rather loose, but will likely include, updates on the CNC area, the status of the 4 CNC routers at the Hack Factory. Information on how you can get checked out to use the CNC Routers.
We’ll also be plodding through some of the lovely features of Autodesk Fusion 360s CAM module, and have some cutting demos.

If you have been wanting to get a project cut on a CNC or get checked out on the CNC machines, this is where you want to be to get the process started. Hope to see a good group of folks Sunday.



3D relief carving of the TC Maker logo

3D Carving the TC Maker Logo

CNC Projects? Show us yours!

May 16th, 2013 by otto_pjm

Following the most recent CNC Class, which I think was a great success on many levels, I was inspired to make a project that has been on the back burner for awhile. I want to use a CNC to make some furniture. I’ve been inspired by the work of Gregg Fleishman, and as a starting point I cutout a scale model of one of his designs.


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CNC Checkout and Intro to CAM Class

April 26th, 2013 by otto_pjm

Routing a skateboard mold

Learn how to use a CNC router to cut 2D and 3D objects out of a variety of materials. TC Maker has 3 CNC routers available at the Hack Factory, come and learn how to use them and start making your own awesome stuff!

The class will have two parts (Machine Check-out, and CAM gcode creation) with the machine introduction and check-out scheduled for 1pm – 5pm Saturday and the CAM workshop from 10am – 2pm on Sunday.

Intro to CNC Class Sign up here. It’s $45 for the 2 days of class

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Intro to CNC and CAM class

January 17th, 2013 by otto_pjm

Routing a skateboard mold

Learn how to use a CNC router to cut 2D and 3D objects out of a variety of materials.

The classes will be held on February 2nd and 3rd. CNC Introduction and Check-out on Saturday, and CAM / gcode creation on Sunday. The schedule will be 10am – 4pm both days. Intro to CNC Class Sign up here. It’s $25 per class / day or $40 for both classes.

VERY IMPORTANT! if you want to be able to generate your own gcode (so you can cut out something you want) you will need to take both classes, The CNC introduction class is just to demonstrate safe and proficient use of the machines, and everyone will be cutting a pre-selected file that I have prepared. To cut your own creations you will need to take both classes,

Intro to CNC
, CNC overview and safe use check-out

Attendees will be provided a 2D gcode file, and need to demonstrate proficiency, by safely cutting the part on the machine.

  • Saturday morning: Use and safety training on the machines ( class room, then with the machine(s) )
  • Break for Lunch
  • Saturday afternoon: individual user check-out on the machines

Intro to CAM
, 2D and 3D Computer Aided Machining (CAM)

Attendees will be given an overview on how to use 2D and 3D CAM software to generate the gcode or tools paths that the CNC machines use to cutout parts. Please see the important notice below on how to acquire the software before class so you are ready to go!

  • Sunday morning: gcode creation for 2D, and 3D objects.
  • Break for Lunch
  • Additional instruction, likely classroom and shop.
  • Sunday afternoon: individual help with gcode creation, user check-out for those who couldn’t Sat afternoon and cutting of files for the code creation group.

CNC Lithophane, 1st try

October 5th, 2012 by otto_pjm

I’ve been wanting to try this for sometime, and finally had my setup mostly ready and the right materials. A Lithophane is an image etched into something translucent. In my case I used LinuxCNC, which runs my CNC router, and includes a script called Image-to-gcode, that creates a gcode height map based on the color or light to dark variations in an image. The material I used is 1/2″ Corian.
The original picture is this one of my son at the beach.

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CNC 3D Carving test – Skateboard Mold

January 22nd, 2012 by otto_pjm

Carving a skateboard mold prototype in foam. The mold itself will be made of laminated lumber to support the pressing process. This test was to determine what bit and step over (the overlap of each pass of the bit) would achieve sufficient detail, and not require too much finish sanding. The process and pattern for finishing is like an ink jet printer, but it cuts each pixel in 3D.

It may not be readily apparent in the photos of the carving, but the board has pretty complex compound curves. I’ll include a shot of the model which illustrates this better after the break.This is a shot of the roughing pass being completed. The test chunk is about a 1/3 of the skateboard’s total length, and the foam was a bit undersized so the board is a bit wider than what the foam could capture.

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Got a nice Rack?, Willing to share?

July 16th, 2011 by otto_pjm

As you may know the Hack Factory is expanding, and as such is in need of some storage racking, and key shop tools. The intention is to shop auctions for the best values on these items.

We hope to fund these items from donations as the organizations funds are committed to covering expansion related costs. So here’s where you come in. If you have any of the items Twin Cities Maker needs, and are willing to donate them that’s fantastic. please see the list of needs, at the details link, and fill in the form outlining what you have, and the logistics help needed to deliver or pickup the items.

If you are willing and able to donate funds to support purchasing these items please use the donation form in the details link

This expansion equipment drive is a targeted event to collect infrastructural equipment to support the expansion, it is not intended to equip the Hack Factory with a full set of tools but rather to pave the way for a variety of tools and activities. Think of this as the roads, gas and electrical infrastructure of a town, you need these first so that people can setup shop and get to work.

Adopt a tool details and donation page

Rewinding a transformer, and how not to.

July 4th, 2011 by otto_pjm

I am swapping out the driver boards on my CNC Router, and my existing power supply of 42 VDC is too high for the new drivers which include voltage regulators with a maximum voltage of 36 Volts. I rather liked my supply, just a big transformer, a bridge and a capacitor with bleed resistor, so I decided to try and keep it.

I started by seeing which of the windings I could get at easily, turned out none, was the answer. The Transformer is built with hundreds of “E” shaped plates that are fit together from opposite directions to form the transformers core, so with a bit a trepidation I removed the bolts and began to remove the “E” plates in search of a winding I could easily access.

After quite a bit of plate removal I was able to access the input (120V) windings, and after an poorly thought out whiteboard session I decided that was what I needed, reduce the input windings to bring the final voltage down.







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Join Twin Cities Maker for Make Day at the Science Museum of Minnesota

May 14th, 2011 by otto_pjm


The weather did not cooperate, so we were inside for Make Day 2011. It was still a great time, I took a few pictures, but the hall was a bit dark for my phone camera, hopefully someones got more and better shots, here a quick visual recap, with pre-work on the t-shirts and treb-Foshay tossed in.

Thanks for stopping by, and if you know a Maker type, please tell them about our Member Drive.

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Easter Making: Something a little different.

April 24th, 2011 by otto_pjm

I’m a bit of a curmudgeon about holidays, I enjoy the days themselves, it’s the hoopla around them I can do without. My wife on the other hand is all about the hoopla, the more the better, so this post is Anne’s edible Easter creation for 2011.


The whole coop of chicks



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Forming and Casting 10x parts

April 22nd, 2011 by otto_pjm

[UPDATE:] Hit the more link, for the latest molding and casting triumphs and failures.

Here’s the latest, my sincere thanks to Bil, Swinkdaddy, and Jude in particular for sharing their knowledge and helping me learn how to do this stuff.

LED bottom disc mold

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Wednesday Roundup

April 20th, 2011 by otto_pjm

Added some shots of the evening to the Flicker pool, including two of the rainbow I saw driving over, tried to get shot of it over the HackFactory, but it had clouded up by the time I got there.

Rainbow over Franklin Ave

Rainbow over Franklin Ave, enroute to the HF

More pictures here.

Or see the link on the right hand side.

Activities included thermoforming, playing with fire, talking and casting RTV, which I have no shots of. I also added the latest shots of some 10x components.


GGHC 10x model cutting

April 6th, 2011 by otto_pjm

We’ve been making progress on the Global Hacker Space Challenge components. There are lots of activities going on, on different aspects of the project, and we are exploring multiple methods to create many of the parts. This is an image of a test cut for the positives of some 10xed 3mm LEDs.

The video is of a cut that went not so well of a 10x ATMega chip. I had neglected to restore my backlash compensation settings after making some updates, and the Z-axis lost height through out the cut making a sloped chip, and turning chunks of my spoil board into fine powder.


Jr Locksport Enthusiast

March 19th, 2011 by otto_pjm

Just a normal weekend, Circus and lock picking.

Weekend Welding project

March 5th, 2011 by otto_pjm

Working on some upgrades for the TIG cart.

Video on Flickr

New Metal Storage

February 27th, 2011 by otto_pjm

A big thanks to Bil who scored a metal storage system that was being scrapped. I took the liberty of re-organizing the metal area to fit it in.


New metal storage rack

New metal storage rack

Wednesday Night Roundup – Montage

December 22nd, 2010 by otto_pjm

No people, no comments just a snapshot of the evenings stuff.

Wednesday Night Roundup

December 17th, 2010 by otto_pjm

In an effort to capture an overview of the projects going on at the Hack Factory and introduce some of the TC Makers who have had less online exposure due to being more stuff than bits people here is the first of a likely irregular series of the Wednesday Night Roundup.

In no particular order here are some of the people and projects happening on Wednesday December 15th. ( I took lots of pictures, most were bad, and a fair portion completely unusable hopefully things will go better next time, similarly I’m easily distracted and the HF is known for having not only lots of shinny objects, but also squirrels, so my understanding of the details, or even the general idea of the projects maybe incorrect )

In the Classroom / Lounge area:

Steve was starting on
an Arduino project
using input from a pneumatic ,
or perhaps hydraulic sensor.
Jim was also
working on an
Arduino project,
he had mouse positional
information controlling
a servo with some high
tech coat hanger
apparatuses attached
to it.

The goal as I understand it
is to use visual feedback
to allow the servo to balance
the contraption.
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Experimenting with CNC Dovetails

December 5th, 2010 by otto_pjm

I’ve had a wizard to do Dovetail joints for awhile and never had a reason to use it until now. We need some drawers built for an odd sized cupboard, and as you may know the HF recently received a pallet or two of drawer sides as a donation. So it seemed like a good time to check out the wizard and try and make some drawers.

Here’s a shot of the setup,



It’s kind of a pain as you need to operate on the edge of the board. I built my latest table in two pieces so I could do dovetails and put the 4th access I hope to build under that part of the frame.


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